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Concert Reviews:
Florence and the Machine in fine working order at the Fox
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

DETROIT – The last time Florence and the Machine came to Michigan, opening for U2 last summer at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Florence Welch was wrapped in a billowing fuschia dress, a visual effect you could see almost all the way back in Detroit.

Things were a bit more modest on Tuesday night, July 31, at the Fox Theatre, where Welch spent the night a form-fitting, cream-colored number. But that didn’t mean the British group’s performance was any less dramatic.

In fact, a 90-minute headline set let Welch and company flex their full creative muscles, running through 13 songs from the group’s two albums of ethereal pop and showcasing the frontwoman’s voice, which flew from a willowy whisper to the booming crescendos where it spent most of the night. There were plenty of instrumental dynamics to support it, but there was no question on Tuesday about who, or what, was the star of the show.

Following an energetic 45-minute opening set by the Walkmen, Welch took the stage standing behind an art deco scrim, greeted by a mostly late-teen and 20-something female crowd that screamed for every one of her balletic gestures. The pillowy feel of “Only for the Night” gave way to the bouncy energy of “What the Water Gave Me,” and Welch jumped into the crowd during “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” for a romp up the center aisle fast enough to be competitive a the Olympics taking place back in her homeland.

She certainly curried favor with a friendly between-song patter, calling the Fox “one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever played,” saluting the capacity crowd as “beautiful,” too, and paying tribute to the Heidelberg Project, which Welch said the band visited earlier in the day. “It’s nice to come so far from home and see beauty where people might not think it would be,” Welch noted.

Meanwhile, she created plenty of beauty on stage, from the anthemic energy of “Breaking Down” to the melodramatic “Seven Devils,” the acoustic soul of “Heartlines” and the stripped-down “Leave My Body.” “Shake It Out” and “Dog Days Are Over” closed the main set with the crowd singing along, while a quiet “Never Let Me Go” set up the bombast of “No Light, No Light,” with Welch promising that, “We hope to see you again very soon.”

She could rest assured the feeling was mutual.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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